The Washington Union Panthers (6-3, 4-0) have dominated North Sequoia League opponents over the past four week, and last Friday was no different as they rolled into Badger Stadium and rolled over the host Badgers (1-8, 0-4) 43-7.
Union, led by DeMelvin Stell's four touchdowns, can wrap up the NSL title outright with a win this Friday against Kerman.
The loss spoiled a great performance by the Badger's sophomore running back Jayson Lee, who rushed for 163 yards on 25 caries (6.5 yard per carry average). Like Chowchilla, Yosemite moved the ball well early, but turnovers again doomed the Badgers.
Badgers can't overcome 28-0 first quarter blitz
Union would put the game away early. Yosemite fielded a pooch kick caught at their own 37. YHS went for the first down on fourth and one and failed. Union took over at the YHS 45. Two runs up middle by Noah Beukers took it to the Yosemite 31. On play action QB Luis Escobedo hit Stell for a 31-yard touchdown.
After the kick-off, Yosemite took over near midfield with Lee ripping off runs of 6, 21, and 25 yards. Lee even took direct snaps that fooled the Union defense. On the Union two, Badger quarterback Joey Woolsey pitched right to Lee. The ball was not secured and Lee fumbled. Union's Stell scooped it up and raced 96 yards for a touchdown. It was a play that changed the game. It was a play that epitomized the Badger season. What should have been a 7-7 tie was now a 14-0 Union lead.
Yosemite would fight back and again it was Lee that carried the load. Lee, operating as QB had a 24-yard run. A 15-yard facemask penalty gave YHS the ball at the Union 27. Lee ran strong on the left side with the line doing a great job. Badger left tackle Jonathan Zohos, left guard Leo Meza, and center AJ Rowe opened holes for Lee, but unfortunately a Lee fumble was picked up by Union's Prentice Thomas. It was another critical mistake and it would cost Yosemite.
After taking over on its 32, Escobedo hit Stell again, this time for a 65-yard TD. Stell stretched the field with his speed and was unstoppable, especially in single coverage.
Escobedo would take a short drop and loft it into the secondary with Union receivers making the grab most of the night. Escobedo would only complete five passes on the night, but the five catch and runs accounted for 185 passing yards (37-yard average per reception).
Union was up 21-0 with 2:16 left in the first quarter.
After a Yosemite three and out, Union took over at its 18. This time it was Beukers taking a pitch around left end, breaking two tackles, and going 83 yards for the TD, giving the Panthers a 28-0 at the end of the first quarter.
It got even worse for the Badgers in the second quarter. After a three-and-out, YHS shanked the punt giving Union the ball at the Badger 45. On fourth down, Escobedo hit Stell for a 33-yard touchdown. Union would add a field goal and went into halftime leading 37-0.
Defense dominated the third quarter. Yosemite put together it's only scoring drive. Runs by Lee and Bobby Magee took the ball to the Union 20. A 16 yard pass by Woolsey to Lassos took the ball to the 4. Lee took a direct snap and bulled his way in for a touchdown. It was now 37-7 as Donavan Iverson booted the point after. The Badgers could take a bit of solace winning the third quarter. Another Union touchdown, this time a 30 yard pass from Escobedo to Jaime De La Torre ended a rough night for Yosemite.
The Badgers rushed for nearly 200 yards, their best total in nearly three years. Woolsey and the passing game were basically shut down by the Union defense. Badger receivers were blanketed by a Panther secondary that was fast and aggressive. Woolsey passed for just 29 yards, completing seven of 14 pass attempts.
Eleven seniors played their last game at Badger Stadium. Cody Elam, did not dress out due to injury, Cameron Monahan, Donovan Iverson, Drew Lassos, Bobby Magee, Anthony Moreno, Joe DePaz, Jacobie Morales, AJ Rowe, Mason Gaynor, and Anthony Archer.
Head Coach Kent Lincoln praised his senior class.
"It has been a privilege coaching these seniors, Lincoln said. "It has been a challenging couple of years, but all the seniors had a great attitude and played hard."
JV Badgers lose 56-12
Union jumped out to an 18-0 lead early in the second period. Runs by Badger Alex Alvarado and penalties on Union helped Yosemite sustain a drive that ended with a five yard touchdown pass from Tristan Eames to Brian Woolsey. On the ensuing kickoff an onside kick by Jarrett Barone was recovered by Corin Figueroa. A pass completion to Woolsey, a personal foul penalty against Union, and several runs by Eames ended in a two-yard touchdown run by Eames.
Yosemite trailed only 18-12 at halftime. It was all Union in the second half ... 38 points worth. Woolsey had eight solo tackles and three assists to lead the defense.
The Mountain Bowl
The Badgers end the`.. 2013 campaign at Sierra (4-5, 1-3) in the 32nd annual Mountain Bowl. Last year, the Chieftains defeated the Badgers 56-27.
The Chieftains have scored just 20 points in NSL play this season. Sierra has been shut out four times this season, including a 35-0 loss at Chowchilla last week. The Chieftains biggest win came against Kerman (27-14) in Tollhouse on Oct. 25. Sierra is tough at home sporting a 3-1 record.
The Badgers will face a run first offense. Sierra averages 163 rushing yards per game but only 45 passing.
Yosemite will counter with a renewed running game behind Lee and Magee. The Badgers can move the ball, however the problem has been the lack of TDs once in the red zone, making critical mistakes too often. Woolsey and the Badgers will have to have a mistake free game to pull this one off in Tollhouse.